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Legislative Update

Assembly education committee hold hearing on several bills this Wednesday, Nov. 1st

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue

The Assembly Committee on Education, chaired by Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), has announced they will take action on a number of bills this coming Wednesday, November 1st. The committee is set to hold a public hearing on three bills on topics such as: a grant program for recovery high schools; allowing schools to hold and maintain an opioid antagonist; and a DPI mental health training program.

The committee will also hold an executive session on a bill that would establish a loan program for students studying school psychology. They held a public hearing on this bill last week. See below to view the agendas for the committee’s upcoming meeting.

Public Hearing:

Assembly Bill 271 — Relating to: a grant program for recovery high schools and making an appropriation.
By Representatives Dittrich; cosponsored by Senator James.

From a Legislative Reference Bureau analysis: “This bill creates a grant program for recovery high schools. The bill defines a recovery high school as a public, private, or tribal school operating only high school grades that 1) is specifically designed for pupils in recovery from a substance use disorder or a mental health disorder that coexists with a substance use disorder, 2) awards high school credits that count towards a high school diploma awarded by the school or high school credits that will transfer and count towards a high school diploma awarded by a school district, and 3) is located in a physical location that is separate from any other public, private, or tribal school.

The bill requires the Department of Public Instruction to annually award a grant in the amount of $500,000 to each recovery high school that applies to DPI and meets the eligibility requirements listed above. If in any fiscal year the amount appropriated for this purpose is insufficient to pay the full amount of the grant to all eligible recovery high schools, DPI must prorate the amount of the grants among the eligible recovery high schools.”

Assembly Bill 223 — Relating to: maintaining a supply of usable opioid antagonist at a school.
By Representatives Zimmerman; cosponsored by Senators James

The authors offered a substitute amendment to this bill back in September that replaced all the language in the bill that mandated schools to hold an opioid antagonist, and replaced it with the following language that allows schools to choose to hold this medication and subsequently protects school personnel from liability. The WASB supports these changes put forth by Rep. Zimmerman and Sen. James.

“An elementary or secondary school and its designated school personnel, and a physician, advanced practice nurse prescriber, or physician assistant who provides or administers an opioid antagonist, are not liable for any injury that results from the opioid antagonist, regardless of whether authorization was given by the pupil’s parent or guardian or by the pupil’s physician, advanced practice nurse prescriber, or physician assistant, unless the injury is the result of an act or omission that constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. The immunity from liability provided under this subsection is in addition to and not in lieu of that provided under s. 895.48.”

LRB-4606/1 — Relating to: the mental health training program provided by the Department of Public Instruction.
By Representative Green; cosponsored by Senator James

From a Legislative Reference Bureau analysis: “Under current law, the Department of Public Instruction must establish a mental health training program under which it provides training to school district and independent charter school staff on three specific evidence-based strategies related to addressing mental health issues in schools. The three specific evidence-based strategies are 1) The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment program, 2) Trauma Sensitive Schools, and 3) Youth Mental Health First Aid. Under this bill, DPI must annually distribute information about this mental health training program to school boards, operators of independent charter schools, and the appropriate standing committees of the legislature. Additionally, under the bill, each school board and charter school governing board must develop a plan for addressing mental health issues that arise for school staff members and pupils. The plan must include information about DPI’s mental health training program. Finally, the bill requires each school board and charter school governing board to annually distribute its mental health plan to all school staff.”

Executive Session:

Assembly Bill 234 — Relating to: a school psychologist loan program, and making an appropriation.
By Representatives Sortwell; cosponsored by Senators Cowles

From a Legislative Reference Bureau analysis: “This bill creates a school psychologist loan program to be administered by the Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) for students who meet certain eligibility criteria, including enrollment at an institution of higher education in a program of study leading to a school psychologist career. Under the program, HEAB may award o an eligible student a loan of up to $10,000 annually for up to three years. HEAB must forgive 25 percent of the loan for each school year that the recipient is employed as a school psychologist in an urbanized county or rural area, as defined in the bill. “School psychologist” is defined in the bill as a licensed psychologist who practices in a school-based setting or an individual who is licensed as a school psychologist under rules promulgated by the Department of Public Instruction.”

The WASB supports this bill and also supports expanding the bill to include other pupil service professionals like school counselors and school social workers.

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